Have you ever noticed how the size of fruit in the supermarkets is bigger and more beautiful looking than fruit in its natural and wild state? It may look good, but it just doesn’t taste the same does it?
For me, small and flavourful wins every time over big and beautiful. I’d rather have a freshly picked apple from my mum’s trees than one of the perfect waxed specimens in the supermarket.
Consumers over time have come to associate large size, uniform shape, bright colour and sugary sweet with quality. But at what cost? Less flavour, less nutrients, and more chemicals.
I’d rather forage for the small, the slightly varied, the deep colour, and the richer, less sugary flavour inherent in the fruits in their natural, wild state.
Professor of physical anthropology at the University of California in Berkeley, Katherine Milton, studied primate diets in the wild. She found that the primates selected leaves and fruits that contained more glucose (dextrose or grape sugar occurs naturally in fruits and plant juices and is the primary product of photosynthesis), but less sucrose (a disaccharide found in the stems of sugar cane and roots of sugar beet, other fruits and vegetables, and table sugar).
Cultivated fruits are grown for a strong sugary taste that comes as sucrose and less as other sugars – exactly the opposite of what our wild relatives like to eat.
Cultivated fruits also reflect our modern preference for low fibre, and little or no seed content. However pulp fibre and seeds can slow the digestion of the fruits sugar content, which means that wild fruit causes less of a sugar spike than cultivated fruit.
In addition wild fruit is much higher in protein, vitamin C, and minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium and phosphorus.
If wild isn’t an option, go for organic. Organic fruit has higher anti-oxidant levels and is free of toxic synthetic herbicides and pesticides.
Beautiful isn’t always better. It’s what’s on the inside that matters. Natural fruit may be a little uglier, but it will be more flavourful and more nutritious.
Good old common sense and a penchant for substance over ‘style’ go a long way.
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